Velfies, crop tops, beer battles, voice-recognition tech and the power of napping.

-“Is velfie the new selfie?” asks StepFeed, spotlighting the video craze sweeping the Middle East.

Maxim looks at developments in the burgeoning field of VR travel.

-Artificial intelligence has made morge strides in recent years, but researchers have yet to imbue machines with a sense of humor, reports MIT Technology Review.

The FT looks at the “beer battle” that’s brewing in Southeast Asia as western brands look to expand into lucrative new territory.

-With hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards and #RocktheCropTop, Instagram has become a global community for body positivity, says The Washington Post.

-“Naps may improve our frustration tolerance,” according to a new study highlighted in The New York Times.

Re/Code looks at voice-activated software like Amazon’s Echo and the obstacles it will need to overcome for wide adoption.

Sojourners reports on the mental health crisis that is plaguing a conflict-ridden Middle East, highlighting its impact on the region’s stability.

How We Made It in Africa ponders whether the continent’s middle class is rising…or not really.

-A Vice Motherboard series looks at modern medicine, from black market treatments to smart syringes.

-While online symptom checkers are proliferating, they’re not sophisticated enough to replace human doctors—yet. Via NPR.

New York Times debaters weigh in on the effects of screen time on teens’ health and wellness.

-“Snapchat has become a Wild West of sponsored content,” declares The Verge.

-One-third of millennials immediately stop viewing videos when quality becomes fuzzy or starts to buffer, according to a new Conviva study.

-Executives from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pandora offer tips on marketing to millennials, via Adweek.

-Facebook is in talks with several major record labels, looking to edge out YouTube as a music video platform, reports The New York Times.

-As mobile banking becomes the norm, Quartz examines the state of bank branches in the US.

-Cuban tourism has seen a huge boost since Cuba and the US restored ties earlier this month, opening up a huge opportunity for brands and services, reports Bloomberg.

-A LinkedIn post from J. Walter Thompson APAC CEO Tom Doctoroff looks at China’s “Post ‘90s Generation” and how marketers can connect with them.

-“The end of gender is near,” declares The Washington Post in a piece on the ruffles, metallics and florals adorning this year’s men’s runways.

i-D looks at how, with the power of social media, menstruation is becoming less taboo.

Image source: John Meckley